Date of Award

Summer 2019

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Studies

First Advisor

Christopher Bogiages


A successful teacher education program prepares preservice teachers to provide high quality mathematics education for all students. In order to effectively address the needs of diverse and historically underserved groups of students, future teachers need to have a deep understanding of both basic content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge. The purpose of this study was to examine ways to support preservice teachers in improving procedural and conceptual content mastery, as well as the specialized content knowledge that they will need in order to feel empowered to teach their future students.

Based on the theoretical frameworks of two components of mathematical knowledge for teaching, common content knowledge (CCK) and specialized content knowledge (SCK) (Ball, Thames, & Phelps, 2008), the combined components of reformed pedagogy (Smith, 2013), and culturally responsive pedagogy (Ladson-Billings, 2009), I enacted a three-phase, intervention-based, action research. Twenty-seven preservice teachers participated in this study, completing all three stages of the intervention. The three stages focused on 1) increasing their common content knowledge, 2) developing their specialized content knowledge, and 3) providing an opportunity to practice teach with their peers.

Qualitative analysis revealed positive growth in both common content knowledge and specialized content knowledge. Data also indicates that the preservice teachers grew to appreciate the value of teaching for conceptual understanding instead of teaching exclusively for procedural understanding. Findings indicate that preservice teachers became adept at defining and evaluating the specialized content knowledge of other teachers but needed additional support for demonstrating this in their own teaching practice. Implications for teachers, teacher educators and others who provide instructional support to teachers are discussed.


© 2019, Jane Rector Wilkes